I am a recovering intellectual snob.
I used to be the kind of person who sneered at others who liked pop music, or reality TV, or never read books unless it was Twilight or some other equally wretched, mass-marketed product. I was proud, protective even, of my perceived status as a proper clever person. I could talk and think with the best of them. After all, I had come from a pretty humble, working-class background. I earned my intellectual abilities by suffering through special programs that pitted me against bright kids from the upper classes of society. I had earned this, I had clawed my way up the class ladder and that made me a fundamentally better person than those who hadn’t.
I thought like that for a long time.
What changed my mind, I think, is reading more about issues of class and privilege where they intersected with my interests in gender and race equality issues. I saw that the demonization and belittling of people with pedestrian, non-intellectual interests was just a specialised type of classism. A whole host of behaviours: mocking people with bad grammar and spelling, laughing at “dumb jocks”, sneering at people who read tabloid magazines– all boiled down to an assumption that lack of education–and the higher thinking skills that are generally only acquired through formal schooling–are a symptom of being intrinsically less civilized, less human, somehow. When a lot of it is due to circumstance, and opportunity.
(And even if you actually are more clever than people, so what? So what? What does that mean?) …